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Trump’s dangerous rhetoric defends the oppressive history of Christianity

Since May 25, I have been outraged. First, it was watching the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop who seemed to find it too easy to take a human life. I was left appalled by the execution-style murder I witnessed. Next came the scene of protesters being assaulted with tear gas and rubber bullets before a backdrop of burning buildings. Tears of anger and sadness have come and gone from my eyes. The pain festers and pulsates and my heart beats for justice. In times of crisis, Americans expect a leader that provides remedies and quells the chaos. Instead, we are stuck with a tyrannical coward who rushes to a bunker to save his own skin and uses a beautiful holy book as a prop. On June 1, watching that thug hold a book so sacred to me in his greasy, small fingers brought me to my knees.

As embarrassed as I was by Trump’s use of the Bible for a political stunt, his actions pale in comparison to the systemic oppression of black Americans and widespread police brutality. He was utilizing that moment and prop to continue validating inequality, which is unacceptable. I have been pained by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, David McAtee, Tony McDade and others who have been lost over the years. Jesus has taught me that all life is valuable and good and therefore must be protected. All lives do not matter until black lives matter, an ideal that is lost in Trump. I believe God can heal regardless of one’s faith, especially when the message of love is spread. However, Trump, as usual, performed for a camera and showed his indifference to precious life. My disgust was furthered by his calling in of the National Guard against protesters and describing the latter as thugs. Only weeks before, he described gun-wielding protesters storming state capitals against stay-at-home orders as “good people.”

It was also a particularly maddening incident as Christianity has contributed to the great suffering of black people in this nation. For centuries, the Bible has been used to justify white supremacy, from colonization to the abhorrent system of slavery. People often ask me why I am still a Christian despite the religion’s problematic history and the hate spewed from the supposedly God-filled right. Mainly, I possess liberal beliefs that are not consistent with the preachings of many Christian conservatives. I am a Christian because of the being that was Jesus and His message of love and peace. In Matthew 12:3, Jesus instructs, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than this.” That is why, as a Christian, I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

By no means do I want to force my faith on anyone. Everyone’s relationship, or lack thereof, with a higher power is their business. I merely wish to convey how my faith informs my view. I have seen many Christians stand by idly stating that Jesus would not support their advocacy. Their silence leads to further carnage. For a group that vocalizes their adamant support of life, they are oddly silent. If someone truly identifies as pro-life, this is the time to make themselves known. 

I wish to make it clear that Trump does not represent my faith in any way, word or action. His act was small compared to the atrocities committed against black people on a daily basis. However, its symbolism was devastating. Not only was the charade a continued disregard for black lives but it was also a promise to uphold the status quo. The Bible has been a tool utilized to defend white supremacy and that needs to be recognized and rectified. Christians are asked in Romans 12:9 to “…hate what is evil. Cling to what is good.” Division is evil. White supremacy is evil. Donald Trump is evil. To do wrong against another human being for the color of their skin or being complicit in such sin is evil. His rhetoric should not be supported by anyone, Christian or otherwise, despite the veil of conservatism and his statement, “I am on your side.” The only side he is on is for himself and whiteness. I will not be complicit and will support the message preached in Amos 5:24: “…let justice roll down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream.”

This article presents opinions held by the author, not those of The Pioneer Log and its editorial board.

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